It couldn’t have happened to a nicer children’s Bible

December 11, 2013

jesus_storybook_bibleI would recommend that adults read Sally Lloyd-Jones’s Jesus Storybook Bible.

The children’s Bible recently surpassed sales of one million copies, an important milestone in the publishing industry. In this interview, the author, a British ex-pat living in New York City, says that her theological training came from the “Tim Keller university.”

What she means is that Keller, her pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, taught her to see Jesus in every Bible story. Having read Keller and listened to many of his sermons myself, I completely understand where she’s coming from: no matter the topic, no matter the scripture, Keller always brings it back around to Jesus and the cross—and not in a forced way. It’s only because Jesus and the cross are there.

I know from experience that once you’ve been to the “Tim Keller university,” it’s hard to read the Bible any other way. It makes those seminary arguments about the identity of the “virgin” (or should it be “young woman”?) in Isaiah 7:14 almost beside the point. Regardless of whomever Isaiah was referring to in his context—was it King Ahaz’s wife or Isaiah’s daughter or someone else?—the story points to Jesus (as St. Matthew rightly understood). Regardless of whomever the Suffering Servant was in Isaiah 53 for the prophet’s original audience, of course it’s really about Jesus for us.

And that’s as it should be. The Holy Spirit who inspired the writers had ulterior motives.

Honestly, in mainline Protestant seminary, some professors imagine that by demonstrating that Old Testament writers were originally referring to someone other than the Messiah, they weren’t also (through the Holy Spirit) pointing to Jesus Christ!

And that’s why adults like me (and maybe you, too) need the Jesus Storybook Bible. For years I had an impoverished doctrine of scripture. Lloyd-Jones, Tim Keller, and others have helped me appreciate that while the Bible tells many stories, it mostly tells one Big Story—and it does so quite well.

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